My oh so gracious employers are bringing me to the Great American Beer Festival (GABF) in late September in Denver, Colorado!!! Three cheers for me!!
Here is a quick numbers run-down for those facty people like myself:
- 3 days
- 4 sessions
- 49,000 attendees (Including me woop woop woop!!)
- 450+ breweries
- 2,200+ beers
- 36,000 gallons of beer
- 100 tons of ice
- 3,400 volunteers
- 54,000 volunteer hours
With 450 breweries to attempt to visit, in between my time of 'volunteering' and pouring beer for our brewery, I decided I need to prioritize my breweries.
Here is a quick list of breweries I won't be missing.
- Russian River Brewing - The current leader in my mind in barrel aged and sour beers. Not for the faint of heart, or hop, Russian River is known to me for bold flavors and breaking boundaries in styles. Hub and I visited their pub in Santa Rosa, CA and tried some fantastic brews, such as a 100% Brett (Brettanomyces, a yeast which causes sour flavors). The flavor profile isn't for everyone, but I enjoy it very much : )
- New Belgium Brewing - Everyone has heard of Fat Tire Amber, or 'Flat Tire' as some annoying uninformed people call it. In my eyes, this is the beer that built the brewery, and they have grown! Located in Fort Collins, CO, I will definitely be visiting the actual brewery as well. New Belgium also produces some killer Belgian-style brews such as the Lips of Faith series. I hear they employ someone who's whole job is to taste barrel aged beers and mix them in search if the perfect blend. Where do I apply?
- DogFish Head - Located in Delaware, there is little chance I will ever get to visit this iconic brewery. But I can dream : ) Being on the West Coast, we kind of get the shaft in tasting some of DogFish's fine brews. One of my faves from them is Raison D'Etre, a belgian brown. (Can you tell I love belgian beer haha) It is so rare out here, whenever I find it I buy as much as I can carry. They also brew some fantastic fruit beers and I'm sure their IPA is ridiculous. Can't wait to try more and learn all about them!
- Midnight Sun Brewing - Located in Anchorage, AK, again there is a slim chance I will ever get to visit the source. And I have also only had one beer from this brewery, The Panty Peeler Trippel. Dang dang dang. It is sooooo so good. I am so excited to try more from this clever company. I love their label styles, slightly cartoonish, just like me : )
- Double Mountain Brewery - Ahh, yes. My favorite brewery in Oregon. Located in Hood River, our home away from home, the picture on their website is what the pub looks like ALL the time. Packed. Although some of their IPA's are on the bitter side for my palate, their sour and barrel aged beers are fantastic. This brewery has only been around for 3 years, and their beer tastes like they've been perfecting it for decades. I suppose they have, the staff is brewery veterans from all over the region. Stoked to see what they bring to the festival.
- Boulevard Brewing - An icon in terms of their vast experiementation with Wheat and Belgian beers. Kansas City is another place I may never get to... who knows. All I know is there is always at least one bottle of Boulevard's Tank 7 in our beer fridge right now, and I am looking forward to trying more of their tasty brews.
All I know is it will be an experience of a lifetime, and also my first trip back to Colorado since I moved away in 2007! Can't wait to see the Rockies once again.
Any breweries you would be dying to visit at GABF? Do you even like beer at all? Keep your eyes peeled or become a follower, I am working on a crash course to tasting beer and beer styles, so study up and impress your friends : )
Beer (responsibly consumed) makes projects more fun.